Five candidates will vie for three spots on Marco Council in November election
Five candidates will vie for the three positions on the Marco Island City Council up for election in November.
City Clerk Laura Litzan confirmed that Erik Brechnitz, Jim Richards, Jerry Swiacki, Sam Young and incumbent Victor Rios have filed their paperwork and qualified to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
As part of the qualification process, candidates were required to:
- Be a resident of the city for at least one year prior to the July 17-31 qualifying period.
- Be a qualified voter in the city.
- Submit signatures of at least one percent of registered voters in the city.
With Councilors Joe Batte and Bob Brown reaching the end of their term limits, the Marco Island City Council is guaranteed at least two new faces although all of the candidates have a history of involvement in the community.
Brechnitz, a financial manager for Raymond James, is the current chairperson of the Marco Island Planning Board and brings both mayoral experience and nearly 15 years on the Decatur (Illinois) City Council. Brechnitz has also held the chair position of the Hideaway Beach special taxing district.
Brechnitz has vowed to reduce taxes and limit government in addition to fixing roads, improve water quality and bring civility to the City Council.
Richards, a businessman and senior executive in the healthcare financial sector for more than 30 years, and his family volunteer with a number of organizations including the American Cancer Society, which recognized him and his wife, Allyson, in 2016 with the Grado Award.
His priorities include hiring a qualified city manager, making growth management a priority, ensuring environmental protection and completing the residents' vision for Veterans Community Park.
Swiacki, a retired physician after 45 years in medicine, is not new to seeking office. He ran for council in 2016 and cited the need for the city to acquire a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to provide its own ambulance transport.
While Swiacki is the chairman of the Our City, Our Ambulance political action committee, he said his decision to run this time around was not tied to Aug. 28 referendum, which will determine if Marco Island voters approve of greater taxation to provide its own EMS services.
Swiacki has stated his priorities would be to higher a qualified city manager, seek a more productive relationship with the county and recoup tax dollars and protect the environment with an approach that maintains property rights and values.
A current member of the city's Waterways Advisory Committee, Young brings experience as a Coast Guard captain and the current director of Fisheries at the Marco Sportfishing Club.
In addition to preserving water quality, Young has said that the city needs leadership and direction from a manager and has called for its workforce to be held accountable. Young also has identified density as a concern that needs to manage.
Rios, who has spent the last 30 years of his career in the aerospace industry, is seeking a second term on the City Council after being elected in the November 2014 election.
Rios announced his intent to run for reelection in February and has maintained that the promises he made in 2014 were kept.
Those promises included:
- Managing growth
- Fscal responsibility including spending money on needs, not luxuries
- Protecting Veterans Community Park as a green space
- Keeping commercial parking from infringing on residential properties
As the Nov. 6 election gets closer, look for more stories about the candidates in the Marco Eagle and at marconews.com.